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For All the People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  46 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Seeking to reclaim a history that has remained largely ignored by historians, this dramatic and stirring account examines each of the American cooperative movements for social change—farmer, union, consumer, and communalist—that have been all but erased from collective memory. With an expansive sweep and breathtaking detail, this scholarly yet eminently readable chronicle ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published July 1st 2012 by PM Press (first published 2009)
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PM Press
Oct 31, 2009 PM Press rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The survival of indigenous communities and the first European settlers alike depended on a deeply cooperative style of living and working, based around common lands, shared food and labor. Cooperative movements proved integral to the grassroots organizations and struggles challenging the domination of unbridled capitalism in America’s formative years. Holding aloft the vision for an alternative economic system based on cooperative industry, they have played a vital, and dynamic role in the strug ...more
Between Howard Zinn and John Curl, we might finally have a couple of historians who can teach us our history, so that we are not doomed to repeat it. Curl's book focuses on the history of cooperative work and communal living, and the aggressive tactics of capitalist, corporate and governmental entities to cut democracy off at the knees. Time and time again, the coop loses. That's the depressing part. And, time and time again, the workers rise. That's the part that gives me hope.

Unlike previous
Christina Zawadiwsky
I received this book as a "win" from Goodreads, and entered to win it because its title piqued my curiosity. I did not expect it to be SO packed with historical data that it was hard to find the human interest in the book, however! A bit heavy-going and heavily foot-noted, I would recommend it primarily to historians! For All the People Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America by John Curl For All the People Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America by John Curl
Robert Stayton
Aug 02, 2015 Robert Stayton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very revealing history of cooperatives in America. In our history there have been wave after wave of cooperatives started by people who are sick of corporate control and wanting something better for themselves by helping themselves through working with others. Often coops were started by unions on strike to help their members. Even today millions of Americans are part of coops through agriculture coops and credit unions, which are coop banks. The author tries to be complete, but sometimes that ...more
Worker Co-op & Economic Democracy Reading List
This book documents the importance of cooperatives, particularly worker cooperatives, throughout our country's history and their particular relevance today.

"It is indeed inspiring, in the face of all the misguided praise of 'the market', to be reminded by John Curl's book of the noble history of cooperative work in the United States." Howard Zinn, author of A Peoples History of the United States
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
An interesting idea--the history of the cooperative and communalist movements in the US. certainly a history worth telling. Mr. Curl, however, writes like a researcher and not a writer. The first half of the book is a chronological history of these movements and coops but he is never quite able to weave together a compelling narrative. It reads like snapshots in history. Bland and almost unreadable. When he writes from his own experiences though, his writing shines and I could really feel and gr ...more
Feb 09, 2010 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, history
Picked this up because it was Howard Zinn-endorsed. Not as readable as the back cover would have you believe (and certainly not as readable as Zinn)'s a bit heavy-handed with the dates and names, but the relatable human interest points are what keep it compelling. I particularly enjoyed the beginning and the speculation on what might have been if we'd not gone the "indentured servitude" route in designing the labor force. Probably good for a classroom . . . and classroom discussion.
Sep 13, 2014 Allee rated it it was ok
Finished about 2/3 of it.. there's some interesting analysis in there, but there's also a lot of really tedious recitation of every co-op that ever existed for 2 months and then failed. I get that it kind of serves as a historical record, "these people were here, let's not forget them," but it did not make for very interesting reading.
Mar 04, 2010 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book on a subject I care about. I'm hoping that books like this will help spread the word about the benefits of cooperative movements.
I won this book from First Reads and was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the author had signed it for me. Thanks!
Mark E. Smith
Dec 09, 2012 Mark E. Smith rated it really liked it
Included in this book are some excellent examples of how the laws people fight so hard to get enacted, are often used against the people they were supposed to help.
Jose Palafox
Pretty good. Yet another great reprint from PM Press. This text is a new and totally updated version from the original 1980 title, 'History of Work Cooperation in America'.
Miro R
Miro R rated it liked it
Sep 20, 2012
Cbphoenix rated it liked it
Aug 14, 2015
Mam rated it it was amazing
Oct 04, 2016
Eric Dirnbach
Mar 24, 2016 Eric Dirnbach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic history of cooperatives in the U.S., really interesting.
Muhammad Usman
Muhammad Usman rated it really liked it
Feb 22, 2016
Mike rated it it was amazing
Feb 24, 2015
Cory rated it really liked it
May 30, 2013
Chad rated it really liked it
Aug 12, 2012
Liz rated it it was amazing
Feb 20, 2012
Stuart Elliott
Stuart Elliott rated it really liked it
Feb 16, 2013
PM Press
PM Press rated it it was amazing
May 20, 2013
Tim rated it it was amazing
Dec 24, 2012
Robert Gaddis
Robert Gaddis rated it it was amazing
Jul 31, 2016
Jan Nunley
Jan Nunley rated it really liked it
Sep 05, 2016
Jasson rated it it was amazing
May 23, 2012
PM Press
PM Press rated it it was amazing
Jul 08, 2010
Minku rated it it was amazing
May 10, 2011
Siddartha Sikdar
Siddartha Sikdar rated it it was ok
Feb 19, 2011
John rated it really liked it
Jan 31, 2015
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John Curl passed his childhood winters on icy Manhattan streets and summers in steamy New Jersey pine forest farm country. A war baby of World War II, his parents were Irish-Catholic, English-Protestant, and Romanian-Austrian Jew, with one grandfather a Republican, the other a Communist, his parents New Deal Democrats, and on Thanksgiving they all got together and actually had a good time. The ast ...more
More about John Curl...

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“Being an employee was considered a form of bondage, only a step above indentured servitude.” 1 likes
“It has been often said that the winners write history. Cooperatives have been widespread and important in many periods of American history, and more people are members of cooperatives today than ever before. Yet it might almost seem as if they don’t exist and never existed in the US, because cooperatives are almost universally absent from history classes and almost never appear in the American media. An unbalanced emphasis has been placed on the self-reliant, individualistic frontiersman as typical of the Westward movement of American history, while this has only been one element in a much more complex situation.” 0 likes
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